At the beginning of the stay-at-home orders this year, I got on TikTok to see what the deal was and got sucked in. From what I gather this is the story of every millennial on TikTok, am I right?
I shamelessly love TikTok, though I am a little concerned about the data security aspect of the app. I have learned how to do more making techniques for soldering, screen-printing, sublimation printing, and more than I ever learned after years spent on Pinterest and Youtube. 60 seconds is actually a wonderful length of time to showcase an artists work or share a technique and I am so grateful for how much I have been learning on that app. I’ve even learned some kick-ass small business tips that can set your online store apart from the masses, and I feel more confident about setting off and creating a strong side hustle with the tips I’ve learned on TikTok.
I have also stumbled into a great support network of makers on Twitter. One of the first friends I made on “art Twitter” is Jacqueline O’Hara, also known as Art By Jac. She is an unwavering supporter of fellow artists and sells some amazing stones, cabochons, jewelry, and other art herself, but she also asks us on Twitter what we’re working on every now and then. This call to action has made me far more productive on my own projects, because I truly want to have something new to show. It forces me to keep going and keep trying even when I’m tired or otherwise unmotivated.
Fun story about Jac of Art by Jac - my late stepmom’s name was also Jacqueline, also ending in Hara (Nakakihara). Crazy right? My Jacqueline taught me to make jewelry with traditional wire wrapping techniques, and it feels amazing to be continuing my journey and expanding my skills with stones I have purchased from Art by Jac. I feel like my Jac helped foster this connection for me from heaven, and everyday when I either shop for supplies or mess with my tools I think of my stepmom and know she’d be really proud. (love and miss you Mom2)
I regularly refer to my “Internet Art Community” out loud in conversation because to me, every single person I’ve learned from or actually connected with has helped me in my journey in some way and they are just as real of friends as the people I’ve met in person. Though a lot of these people are artists, they are also incredible small business owners. I’m currently in the process of starting my own accessories business and at times it’s not just hard - it’s scary. Running an independent business takes an incredible amount of emotional fortitude, good old fashioned hard work, and attention to how you’re investing your time in different areas in your life.
The Art Internet was also an unexpectedly safe space to be in during this year’s long-brewing racial and social chaos. I do not personally identify as a Black business owner (partly because I don’t have my LLC yet, and also because I am biracial and I don’t think it’s right), but it is incredible to see the support and kindness that is continually being shown towards Black business owners. If you’re reading this and haven’t signed the 15% Pledge yet, or worse don’t even know what it is, please click that link right there to change that. (15percentpledge.org)
Consider this post a “thank you” note to every artist that I follow.
Thank you for continuing your craft throughout your life’s hardships and setbacks.
Thank you for sharing what it means to make what you love what you do for a living.
Thank you for being kind when the rest of the world can’t manage this basic act of humanity.
Thank you for all of the late nights spent making something beautiful out of raw materials.
And most of all - thank you for welcoming me to your community with open arms, no matter the platform.